VistaPrint: The cards are OK but billing and privacy issues can be problems

It's important to be careful -- don't agree to any free offers or take any surveys

It’s safe to say that just about everybody had a business idea at one point or another.

Whether it’s opening a restaurant based on Mom’s recipes, starting a landscaping company with your buddies, or beginning some sort of Internet business, many people have taken that leap from dreaming of owning a business to actually getting it off the ground, or at least trying to.

Vistaprint says it can help market your business by getting you off to a strong start with its printed business cards, banners, promotional t-shirts and other things to make your company look professional.

Vistaprint’s customer base also includes consumers who may want to print invitations for a party or wedding. Some like to use the company to personalize holiday cards, which is a nice touch if it's done right.

Also, Vistaprint alludes to charging low prices for stellar work, which is what the company has to say, I guess. This isn't what every consumer experiences, however, as a perusal of the reviews posted to ConsumerAffairs shows.

Whenever discussing our complaints and review section, it’s always our goal to find any similarities in the comments, whether positive or negative, which gives consumers a general idea of how the company is received, and helps them decide whether it sounds like what they're looking for.

We reached out to VistaPrint for a comment on this story but did not receive a reply.

Good news

First the good news: Michelle of Sarasota, Fla. said her experience with Vistaprint was a positive one and the company kept its promises to her.

“I’ve used Vistaprint for years and think that they are a great value,” Michelle said. “Recently, I called because I had not received one of two items that I ordered and they immediately put a replacement in the mail, no questions asked.”

“I received the item (and then my husband handed me my original order two weeks later, he had picked it up from the mailbox and failed to give it to me. I feel terrible). But I would totally recommend this company and will continue to use them for business and personal needs,” she wrote.

Lebron of Ohio was also happy, despite the negative comments he read on our site.

“For starters, Vistaprint has excellent customer service,” he wrote. “I was a bit worried after reading the reviews here, but all my items were shipped in a timely fashion on schedule. I couldn’t be happier with the quality of the t-shirts, business cards, notebook, return address labels and stamps. Great low prices for exceptional merchandise! I highly recommend Vistaprint.”

Lebron was so happy with the company he gave it a personal satisfaction rating of five stars, which pretty much says he felt Vistaprint couldn’t do any better. It’s always great when a company makes you feel like that.

However, he did mention being “a bit worried” about the high number of negative reviews the company received -- and rightfully so, because Vistaprint has done a pretty good job of frustrating a lot of its customers. But we’ll get back to that part in a little bit.

Personally, I used the company only one time — many years ago, when I wanted to be the kind of writer that hands out business cards left and right,  pridefully showing what I do and where my passions lie. 

Since I only used the company once, and my order was pretty straightforward, my experience was non-eventful, which is really what consumers expect. We all want to order a product or service — then forget we ordered it and have everything finalized before any feelings of dread creep in.

Repeated users

Based on the majority of the reviews in the comments section, it seems Vistaprint has frustrated customers that went beyond using the company just once for business cards.

Something else to take note of is that many customers posting to our site seemed to have good first experiences with Vistaprint, but ran into problems thereafter.

If any company can make your first experience, they’ve accomplished a very important and needed task. But when you return to that company and it doesn’t provide you the same level of service, it’s not only baffling, but disappointing, and you think it’s sort of your fault for letting your  guard down and trusting that company.

Lynette, of Australia, wrote about being unhappy with Vistaprint when she continued to deal with the company after her first order.

“I owed $79 and they (Vistaprint) popped another digit on, equaling $790,” she said. “They also accessed my savings account as well as my credit card to the value of $1,200, making as many as 10 orders a day (supposedly from me). It took me 10.5 months to get the money returned and I was totally unable to contact them.”

 “Vistaprint never returned any e-mails nor was their supposed contact number ever manned except for an annoying recording. This made it totally impossible for me to contact them, obviously exactly what they wanted. The result, PayPal came to my rescue and my bank,” she said.

Anything else?

It’s unfortunate that Lynette suffered billing issues with the company, as have many of the others we hear from. But besides the billing issues, how are the overall printing jobs? I mean, the company is supposed to be there for the little guy, right? Which gives the idea that Vistaprint is mindful of tight budgets and having to get things correct on the first shot?

For the most part many of the consumer complaints aren’t related to what the business cards, posters, or sweatshirts looked like.

In fact, a good portion of readers said the final product was either good or fair. Sure there are some who complained about Vistaprint using cheap quality paper for its business cards, and a few people said certain logos looked better on the company’s website than they did once they were  downloaded.

But many of the complaints, which far outweigh the positive comments, were related to consumers' names and contact information being passed along to other companies.

Robert of Lakeville, Mass. said that after ordering 1500 business cards, along with a few other items, his name was sold to other companies, and soon after, he was sent magazines with his name and address on the covers although he had never ordered them -- at least as far as he knew.

“Over the phone, I was told that I ordered those magazines,” said Robert.  “This is far-fetched since I am looking at my invoice and there is nothing about subscribing to any magazines. Bottom line is they sold my name probably multiple times. My email box is getting more spam as we speak.”

In some cases, consumers may have agreed to take a survey or clicked on a special offer during the ordering process. By doing so, they may have unwittingly supplied their personal and credit card information to third parties.

So, if it's business cards you want, be sure that's all you order. Don't agree to take a survey, sign up for a free offer or jump at a discount on an unrelated item.

Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.
Consumer Affairs

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